Zombie arguments from the GOP

I won’t lie to you. I lean right.

Seriously. I appreciate low taxes and believe religion is a choice. People should be permitted to bear arms if you ask me. I regard the individual more than the collective. I like limited government. I believe that wages should be contracted between employers and employees. I want more private schools. I believe we will never eliminate prejudice through reparations and minority-appeasement.

But I also love nice roads. I enjoy some government-sponsored facilities. I know that science trumps religion. I doubt peaceful people need assault weapons. I believe that when an individual pollutes, the collective can hold him accountable. Therefore I can’t imagine a reason for any Republican vote. The party is fragmented, non-directional, and at the mercy of the Tea Party and the Evangelical wing. Most importantly, they haven’t accomplished anything. The Republicans might not be in the executive office, but they have had legislative majority and been an opposition party. They sucked at both.

The Obama administration of 2009 with a Democrat majority in Congress would have been helped by a strong opposition. But the GOP was anything but constructive. Obama’s election victory began with Rush Limbaugh calling for him to fail; and, strangely, the disgruntled Republican voters took political direction from a radio-host with a penchant for oxycodone. There was no room for discourse. Now that they have the House, instead of playing Devil’s Advocate to the President, they’re still carping about the birth certificate—after he has already produced it. It’s one thing to adhere to an ideology that isn’t even a declarative statement. That’s politics. But the GOP of today spews arguments that have been disproven. So, taking a leaf out of John Quiggin’s book, I declare some of the GOP’s discharges Zombie Arguments. Here we go.

Obama is a leftist

I know he said, “You didn’t build that.” And that he once said, “…spread the wealth around.” But he doesn’t mean that the government gave you everything. Nor does he want to hand your 5000-square feet mansion to the illegal immigrants. All he said was that every business enjoyed benefits of government facilities and that taxes are the way to buy into this service. Oh the outrage! You’d think we were in Animal Farm in 1984.

This man has upheld the Bush tax cuts, ignored the demands from his base for single-payer healthcare, and pulled out of Iraq no earlier than the deadline the Bush administration had set. And he is a foreign-policy hawk. He has killed Osama bin Laden, Badruddin Haqqani, and the second in command at Al Qaeda without losing American lives.

Guns protect you from government oppression

The Second Amendment is impotent against the federal government. The White House has nuclear weapons and drones. Your huge shotgun collection makes Joe Biden want to pinch your cheeks and cuddle. The gun-nuts need to remember that until and including Vietnam, every paper-cut that America inflicted overseas was accomplished with a draft. And everyone complied. Don’t let them fool you with faux patriotism. Most went because they had to. Even today, young men must register at 18 or face prosecution and lose their federal employment eligibility.

Short version: if the federal government wants something, you’ll do it.

The debt is Obama’s fault

Really? Did Obama begin two wars, double the defense budget, and cut taxes on the rich? Did he, when refused a bailout by the Congress, sign an executive order to do it anyway? Criticizing Obama for not fixing the economy might be fair, but blaming the debt on him is disingenuous.

States’ Rights are paramount

I hear this all the time. The individual mandate is against states’ rights. Roe v. Wade violates states’ rights. As if it matters. An oppressive state government is no different from an oppressive federal government. We must protect individual rights—not states’ rights. But let’s not forget that rights are privileges over your body and property. Not just something your heart wants. Those are wishes. Forcing a pregnant girl to carry her fetus to term so you can look Jesus in the eye is not a right.

I have the right to teach my child about Noah’s ark

You do. As long as you tell him that it’s as true as Harry Potter.

Funny how the Bible posits with 99.98% precision the age of the Earth but misses certain glaring facts…such as…the earth is a ball, not a plate; and it’s not the center of the Universe. Charlie Sheen is.

Children cannot be owned. All that parents have is the right to care for their children. To be honest, I doubt that the state has any place between parents and kids, but few things rile me up as much as children being put in harm’s way. But if religion supplants science, especially at a young age, it could destroy creativity, dull curiosity, and teach unquestioning obedience. So, no. Shaping your impressionable child’s mind with a subjective, unproven dogma flouts his rights. Pick someone your own size.

Steve Jobs did so I can too

No. You can’t. That’s the dream they sell you. Hey once you make over $250 000 a year, your taxes go up. So, don’t vote Democrat.

True. But that’s no reason to get your underwear in a bunch now. Worry about that when your start-up becomes the next big thing, or your album drops, or your novel outsells The Hunger Games. Please consider the likelihood of that happening before you cast that ballot.

Finally, I criticize the Left a lot, but they aren’t guilty of petulance. I understand that politics is about compromise. No one can have all that they want. But the GOP keeps moving to the right and then demands a compromise from the Democrats. Even that would be tolerable if their arguments were cogent. We would have scope for debate. Instead the GOP resorts to faux patriotic and religious one-upmanship.

And that bodes well for no one.

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10 thoughts on “Zombie arguments from the GOP

  1. While this is basically about rhetoric and one’s choice of perspective, I think the tone of Obama’s “You didn’t build that” speech did imply that the government played a critical role in the success of people’s endeavors. And that is just not true. Limbaugh may basically be a buffoon but his take on this was at least more right than Obama’s. “There is a road in front every building. So what? Is that what it takes for a business to succeed?”

    If you analyze this more deeply, it will be quite evident that Obama’s speech did not make any worthwhile point whatsoever – which was probably his intention anyway – just playing to his base. And of course this also doesn’t challenge the gist of your post, which anyone with commonsense would find himself agreeing with without debate.

    • I agree—in that speech Obama was ad-libbing, and he ended up representing a position more extreme than is reasonable. It would have been worthwhile to say that certain civic projects like roads and bridges, if accomplished privately, would cost a lot and recovering that capital by selling your product at a high price would be tough.

  2. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

    I suspect this is true. For most of my life I have been a Centrist. Mostly Fiscal Conservative and Socially Liberal. I lean Left, perhaps it is my age. Perhaps it is my gender.

    These days I could no more vote for a Republican than take a serrated knife and drag it across my own neck. You have done an excellent job with this. No party is perfect. Certainly their platforms are imperfect and their behavior leaves much to be desired. I would wish all of them would remember they are servants of the people, but I suspect this is far to much to hope for.

    • Wow! I have always thought that about taxation. If the bottom 99% are not rewarded enough from taxation of the top 1%, someday, when we pass a tipping point, morals will shift and we will slip into anarchy. Everyone pays taxes to stave off that eventuality.
      And you’re right. It’s hard to imagine someone thoughtfully voting Republican unless they’re motivated by religion.
      I would describe myself just as you have—fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

  3. You continue to surprise me, Bharat. I have about 52 comments (well, maybe more like 22…or 12) but I’ve had a couple of cocktails and sleep trumps politics. That having been said, this was really well-written and even-handed in my opinion, a hard thing to achieve considering the subject matter.
    Does it surprise you to know that I lean left? =)

    • Thanks Stacie.
      No. It doesn’t surprise me. But I’ve known people who disagree politically to have different opinions on right and left. I’m basically libertarian, and my girlfriend says that’s more left because I am socially liberal. I think it’s more right, because I’m fiscally conservative.
      On a lighter note, after drinks, I am more Left than Trotsky 😉

  4. Hey bharatwrites,

    Leftie here, so I strongly disagree with your opinions and…. I hate you -(note humorous tone).

    But enjoyed your coherent and rational writing expressing your views clearly.

So, what do you think?

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